The Impact of Media Exposure on Anxiety in Kuwait during COVID-19 Outbreak

Author(s): Lulua Alasousi Sara al Hammouri, Sara al Al-abdulhadi, Ahmad T. Al-Sultan

Objective: Media influence plays major part in our life. In recent years, there is a 24-hour news cycle readily available in the palm of our hands allowing people to view stories from all over the world. Repeated and exaggerated media stories especially during crisis have remarkable effect on mental health, The purpose of this study is to assess media influence on mental health disorder, especially generalized anxiety disorder.

Method and setting: this study is a cross sectional conducted during COVID-19 pandemic in Kuwait. It included Kuwaiti citizens between age of 23-55years and excluded citizens who are under home or institutional quarantine, COVID-19 patients, doctors, nurses or pharmacists who work in the Ministry of Health in Kuwait, cancer, psychiatric disease, diabetes mellitus and hypertension patients and non-Kuwaiti citizens. An online questionnaire was developed including media exposure assessment and GAD-7 score questions. The survey distributed using snowball sampling technique. 1230 participants from all Kuwait governates took an online questionnaire after exclusion and inclusion criteria applied.

Result: All the data was statistically assessed by using SPSS 25.0 (Statistical Package for Social Sciences. the result showed that the highest proportions of anxiety were females (79.7%). On Chi-square analysis, there was significant association between anxiety and Gender (P-value < 0.001).

Conclusion: from this study we can understand that media exposure has an impact on mental health particularly generalized anxiety disorder during COVID19 pandemic. Therefore measures should be taken by the governments to fight misinformation and physician should pay more attention to mental health disease during this period.

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